Movie Review: Talaash

Talaash engages you in every scene. Like the protagonist, it keeps you alert at all times looking for clues to solve the mystery. It gives you a feeling that you have almost cracked the crime… almost. But when the mystery is revealed, you are as shocked as inspector Surjan Singh Sekhawat (Aamir Khan). Dumbfounded would be an apt description. The finale is fantastic. It’s a kick in the gut. You double up with the enormity of the situation of how a simple car accident with a reigning superstar found dead underwater turns into a complex mystery.

If a movie has you playing the scenes in bed at night trying to figure out where the clues to the mystery were, you know this is one helluva whodunit! As you play back scenes in your mind, you realize that director Reema Kagti has given enough clues to nail the killer. And that is the beauty of Talaash, it lays bares its cards, and dares you to pick.

Talaash is Kahaani at its best. Both were mysteries par excellence by Bollywood standards. And I believe these two movies have set the bar for future crime thrillers. More importantly, it is not gory or dreary.

You wonder how a speeding car could swerve so dangerously in the first scene, especially when there was nothing in its way. That is one thought that keeps at you at every turn when you are solving the mystery. And that is the turn which will turn you upside down. Saying anything more here would make it easier for you to solve the mystery.

Adding to this mystery is the troubled life of inspector Sekhawat. He is battling his own private hell as he tries to solve this case. How the two stories have been merged is a lesson in scripting. It runs parallel until it meets at a tipping point!

The music, with a leaning on blues adds to the whole mood. The red light area where Rosy (Kareena Kapoor) operates from with its underplayed bhais and madams is real. The girls who are ‘caged’ there are not flashy. Kagti has taken pains to tone down their demeanor for them to appear vulnerable.

Aamir Khan turns out another studied performance, never once going over the top; he absorbs the mood and sets the trend. Though breaking apart on the inside, he holds his job, finding meaning in its monotony to escape the ghosts that plague him. The end scene where he comes to terms with his past is emotional. To see a tough cop cry like a baby and yet feel for him… I mean this is acting at its best.

Rani Mukherjee surprises with her role as Aamir’s wife. Battling her own demons, she underplays her role at the same time being the foil she is meant to be for her husband. But things are not so easy that it can be remedied with a hug. It will take more than that to make their marriage work.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is now moving into a ‘zone’. He stamps his brilliance with his class act as a pimp to a pimp. A completely different act from say a Kahaani or a Gangs of Wasseypur. You don’t see the actor; you see the character he portrays.

Finally, Kareena Kapoor gets to end the year with a bang. This is a role of a lifetime and she has essays it with ease. She can now wake up from the bad dream called Heroine. Kudos to Kagti for using her so intelligently. There’s a mention of Chameli (just for laughs, I guess) drawing parallel to the similar role she plays here.

Talaash is a team effort and that can be seen from the contribution from every department of film-making. Right from editing, to background score, to acting, to music, to make-up, to costumes and what have you…

Talaash is engrossing and entertaining; a murder mystery at its best.

Go, find out the truth for yourself.

Rating: 4 / 5

Martin D’Souza

This first appeared on on November 30, 2012


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